Industry 4.0 – general thoughts

So, I’ve been thinking of this quite a lot lately. Industry 4.0 it’s a little bit like a revolution in how our industrial system is shifting. It has a lot to do with this new concept of IoT (Internet of Things). But I think it’s also further developed by the “kickstarter” and “Etsy” trend.

This notion that you can decentralize industrialization is not a new one I’m sure, but it is quite difficult to accomplish.

Most industries are highly specialized machines; raw material in, finished product out, and repeat. Add in some R&D and some Sales people and you have the entire picture.

But what really is Industry 4.0? Is it just a more robotized factory or plant? A more self aware process? Or is it some pipe dream that the millennials are trying to push as the hip new thing? Well, it’s probably all of that actually …

One thing that I’m trying to do is push this envelope even further than what most people think this Industry 4.0 bubble is turning out to be. I’m trying to create a community around an industry. Hear me out here. My vision is that I would like to create a platform where the software is maintained by the public, where upgrades and added features are shared by the community. But it doesn’t just end at the software. The hardware is also just as versatile.

Replacement parts and upgrades can be pulled off-the-shelf or through online markets, shipping worldwide. Upgrade kits are not limited to what the original designer thought of, but limitless due to the open nature of the design.

Each iteration being designed with the intent to be hyper connected with the world and it’s community. Ever hear that from a product manufacturer? Didn’t think so.

The technology is here. Software has always had it’s “open source” community. This is due to it’s ability to be easily modified and shared. But what about hardware? What about the physical parts of a product?

Some manufacturers have toyed with the idea a little … Phones with upgradable components … The old fashion self built pc … Even some home furniture that you can upgrade and update as you please. It’s a great concept, not just for the environment, but also for the public. It’s not one size fits all anymore.

What I’m trying to create through my DropBOB Designs brand, via my Cold Brew coffee makers is exactly that. I want a community that gets exactly the product they want because they made it so. It’s their machine! They can do what they want to. Hack it! Upgrade it! Bigger, smaller, more sensors, different materials.

The tech is here, I can 3d print things into whatever shape I want. Electronics are available on a click of the mouse. Custom printed circuit boards also at the click of a mouse. Add in some simple wood working, and some steel work and you have yourself a fully custom product.

I want to bring that to the general public. It’s all there, I want to share that by providing it in a product that you can make your own, with the help of a community who love to hack and dare to take things apart.

Obviously, I’m not there yet … I don’t have a community. I don’t have a platform. But I do have hopes and dreams. I have some spare time, for now (wink) and I’m enjoying this development. So, unlike the current state of industry right now, I’m in no rush. I want to do this, and do it right. Also, I’m having fun. That’s what matters right?

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